MORRIS, William (1834-96). Catalogue of the books of William Morris at Kelmscott House. -- The Tale of Haldor. Hammersmith, c. 1890.
40 (234 x 186 mm). AUTOGRAPH CALLIGRAPHIC MANUSCRIPT on paper (a single stock of Whatman), ruled throughout. Collation: 18 (catalogue); 2-36 (the beginning of Haldor on 2/2r-3r, remainder blank). Slightly cursive calligraphic script by Morris, in black, red and blue ink, 16 lines to the page, FOUR ORNAMENTAL FLORAL INITIALS PAINTED BY MORRIS in red against backgrounds of various colors (catalogue), several headings and initials sketched by him in pencil (catalogue and Haldor).
FINELY BOUND BY KATHARINE ADAMS AT BROADWAY, WORCESTERSHIRE 1911 FOR SYDNEY COCKERELL: russet pigskin, single gilt fillet round sides, upper front cover lettered in gilt: BEGINNING OF A CATALOGUE OF THE IMPORTANT BOOKS IN THE LIBRARY OF WILLIAM MORRIS WRITTEN OUT BY HIM, single fillet on turn-ins, longitudinal lettering on spine (bands slightly rubbed), calligraphic try-out by Morris for the catalogue's title and his signature mounted on pastedowns. Original cloth slipcase. Provenance: Sir Sydney Cockerell (1867-1962), inscribed by him on free front endpaper "Sydney C. Cockerell Cambridge Jan 21 1911 (given to me by Mrs Morris after her husband's death in 1896)", on front pastedown: "This volume contains (1) a beginning of a calligraphic catalogue of his manuscripts and early printed books, made by William Morris probably in 1890. (2) a beginning of a translation of the Icelandic Tale of Haldor, in another calligraphic hand used by Morris on other occasions -- e.g. for the manuscript of the Thorir &c. written in 1873-4 and given by Lady Burne-Jones in 1909 to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge"; INSCRIBED TO HIM BY JANE MORRIS, Morris's widow, in the year of his death 1896, on flyleaf; note on the binding in Cockerell's hand on back pastedown -- Heinrich Eisemann (Cockerell sale, Sotheby's 10 December 1956, lot 89) -- Major J.R. Abbey (bookplate, acquisition number and date), bought of Eisemann the next day; acquired by B.H. Breslauer from Abbey's widow in 1970.
WILLIAM MORRIS'S LAST CALLIGRAPHIC MANUSCRIPT, containing a never completed catalogue of his library and a transcription of the beginning of his translation of The Story of Haldor. The two texts were written about the same time on the same stock of Whatman paper and therefore joined by Cockerell for binding by Katharine Adams. The catalogue lists twelve manuscripts (including six Morris's own calligraphic work) and fifteen incunabula. This may be the last calligraphic manuscript by Morris ever to come on the market. It was shown at the Morris Centenary Exhibition, Victoria & Albert Museum 1934; the Pierpont Morgan Library's 1976 Morris exhibition (no. 3 and pl. II in P. Needham's catalogue); the same library's 1996 Morris exhibition (centenary of his death); the Grolier Club's Morris exhibition 1996-97. Loosely inserted are a trial impression on paper of the binding's lettering, an offprint of Cockerell's Times obituary of Mrs Edmund Webb (Katharine Adams), and correspondence between Alfred Fairbank and Tim Munby (June 1963) about the manuscript's location.